Is photography going downhill with digital?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by eNo, Oct 31, 2009.

  1. eNo

    eNo Guest

    Has the digital revolution reduced or improved the overall quality of
    photographs? The argument one often hears goes something like this:
    back in the old days, when people shot film (thump chest as needed),
    they took more time to consider a shot, but now with digital, people
    mindlessly click away with no concern for what they are capturing. In
    addition, digital has brought about a proliferation of photographers;
    now anyone (raise nose as needed) can take a photo, and this has led
    to an oversupply of particularly poor images that drown the few good
    ones some still manage to take.

    read the rest at
    eNo, Oct 31, 2009
    frogpoet likes this.
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  2. eNo

    Guest Guest

    no. the quality is much better with digital.
    nothing stops someone from taking their time on digital.
    the barrier was actually *lower* with film, where you buy a disposable
    camera, drop it off and get photos back. with digital you need to know
    how to use a computer, edit images in photoshop, match screen to print
    colour, etc.

    digital, however, is cheaper so people experiment more, which helps
    them learn.
    Guest, Oct 31, 2009
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  3. eNo

    tony cooper Guest

    What I think you are overlooking is that the internet came along and
    allowed people to share/show their images. We see more bad stuff now
    because we see more stuff. There will be more new images uploaded to
    Flickr in the next week than most of us have ever seen of other
    people's photographs in their entire pre-internet lifetime.

    Who knows how many bad prints and slides are tucked away in shoeboxes
    that were never seen outside of the immediate circle of the

    I've scanned hundreds of old family photographs, and I can tell you
    that no one in my family tree was an accomplished photographer. With
    Photoshop cropping and cloning, I've improved quite a few of them.
    tony cooper, Oct 31, 2009
  4. eNo

    Glen Guest

    Sounds Rich to me!
    Glen, Nov 1, 2009
  5. eNo

    True Dat! Guest

    Spoken like a true inexperienced snapshooter.
    True Dat!, Nov 1, 2009
  6. eNo

    tony cooper Guest

    I agree. I have a laptop, and have taken it with me on a few
    occasions to preview - full-screen - the images. Then I go back to
    the same scene and re-shoot.
    tony cooper, Nov 1, 2009
  7. eNo

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Written like a know-nothing ass.
    Ray Fischer, Nov 1, 2009
  8. eNo

    Chris H Guest

    That is true. However that is the technical quality... not sure about
    the standard of composition etc.
    True but most tend not to. However many professionals used motor drives
    on film. SO it does depend on what you are doing.

    There is some truth in that... however with modern cameras it is much
    easier to take a "passable" photo.
    This is a red herring as large numbers of people with camera-phones etc
    have a "one button to facebook/Flikr" set up built in so there is
    virtually no technical knowledge required. I know many kids (and adults)
    who publish to Facebook etc who would not even know how to start
    That is true.

    BTW there was much the same argument when the cheap,easy to use and
    inferior film stuff replaced glass plates... Photography is not and was
    not "film".... film was just a phase photography went through. As were
    the several formats of film... 35mm is not "full frame" it was just a
    size that was popular for a while in one format. Digital is the current
    progression of image making. IT looks likely to last a long time as I
    can not see what the next step is. Though I expect some one said that
    when they moved from derogotypes :)
    Chris H, Nov 1, 2009
    frogpoet likes this.
  9. eNo

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Another thing about digital is that it has enabled photography to be used
    for new purposes.

    Several companies now encourage employees to take pictures of data such as
    serial numbers instead of jotting them down in a notepad; or, to take a
    picture of a site instead of trying to describe it in words.

    Even in the blind community, small P&S cams are being used to take pictures
    of printed material (such as signs, menus, handouts) which can then be run
    through an optical character recognition application, enabling the
    visually-impaired to function much more independantly than would otherwise
    be possible.

    Some of us even use the cams to take pictures of new areas we visit, or
    fresh obstacles that appear, and then get sighted persons to describe the
    pictures later, effectively enabling blind people to learn a lot more about
    their community without actually having sighted guides with them every step
    of the way.

    And, of course, it won't be long till the camera sensor is hooked directly
    to the brain, miraculously restoring sight to who knows how many victims..
    of who knows how many afflictions.

    An interesting question arises: If an individual has sensors instead of
    retinas, and the individual has the technical resources / expertise to
    "capture" and transfer to hard copy something he / she is "looking at," will
    the process still be considered photography?

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Nov 1, 2009
  10. eNo

    Charles Guest

    Has done little for composition. It's too easy (cheap) to just keep
    pressing the shutter button. Folks used to take more care with lighting,
    framing, and so on. Also, now it's too easy to share bad shots.

    Post-processing is another story. The digital darkroom is an awesome tool.

    All in all, it's a wash for most shots churned out and shared by casual

    For serious amateurs and pros, the quality is way up. Just one opinion.
    Charles, Nov 1, 2009
  11. eNo

    Bob Williams Guest

    I can only speak from my own personal experience.
    I started shooting film in 1947 and it became a serious hobby for at
    least 50 years. I had a B/W and Color Darkroom and developed and printed
    many of my own pictures especially the winners.
    I probably shot about 500 pics a year and got about 50 keepers, that I
    enlarged to 5x7 (Paper and Chemicals were very expensive in those
    days....especially color).

    In 2000 I started taking digital photos. I also took a course in
    Photoshop to be able to edit the images correctly and bought a photo
    quality inkjet printer to produce 8x10s of my keepers.
    The whole world changed almost overnight.
    I took way more pictures, experimented more, tried out novel lighting
    techniques, stitched panoramic images together and did a bunch of
    things that I had wanted to do with film but resisted, because of the
    cost of processing the images.

    The quality of my images improved dramatically, especially when tweaked
    in PS.
    Now, I have so many 8x10 keepers that storing and presenting them
    properly is a major challenge.

    Hey! I shoot a lot of crap too because I experiment so much....but only
    the keepers get shown to the rest of the world.
    I think that because so many people are shooting digital pictures today
    and displaying everything they produce, you invariably see a lot more
    really boring and poorly executed pictures.
    OTOH. I see a whole lot more, really excellent pictures that just were
    never seen in the "film days".
    Bob Williams
    Bob Williams, Nov 2, 2009
  12. eNo

    celcius Guest

    Photography for most of us is a hobby. It's a fun thing. It's a way to can
    our souvenirs. It's a way to try different things. The P&S has opened the
    possibility for young and old to experiment, to have fun. No film to buy.
    Replication of the same scene 10 times over. Who does it hurt (except
    personal pride sometimes)? Of course, results are not necessarily very
    artistic... but who cares? I remember the B&W shots with Aunt Elma's head
    cut off at the forehead ;-) Who does this hurt (beside Elma)? We will still
    have great photographers. We will still have the so-so photos. The
    difference? We can ALL have a "shot" at it (cheap pun intended). My grand
    child who is 4 has started with a very cheap camera... In a way, more
    persons can turn to it and yes, more can learn and be on their way to
    becoming good at it. We don't necessarily have to become experts. And those
    who are really bad don't spoil anything for the rest of us. Let's cease to
    be purists. There's room for the good, the great and the bad. What counts
    is having fun doing it.
    celcius, Nov 2, 2009
  13. eNo

    whisky-dave Guest

    For me the photograph is something you can hold usually on paper sometimes
    framed, and for me some of the best pictures have been in monochrome then
    on a rotary glazer to give it that extra glossy look.

    True, but one could have said that about 250 exposure backs I often
    though of getting. Pros and those that could afford it always take more than
    they need
    photograph wise anyway.
    No you don;t you can take them to chemists to photostores to print out.
    I've even seem the machine in shops where you just take your memory to the
    and off it goes, even home printers have that facility.
    whisky-dave, Nov 2, 2009
  14. eNo

    Roy Smith Guest

    I make a good living working for a company who manufactures disk storage
    systems. Every time I get a paycheck, I'm grateful for things like Flickr
    and which encourage people like me to take zillions of mediocre images and
    upload them for free. More images taken means more disk drives sold. As
    far as I'm concerned, we should be giving cameras away for free :)
    Roy Smith, Nov 2, 2009
    Viktor likes this.
  15. And neither do I. I printed in both colour and B&W (including Cibachrome), I
    don't miss the chemicals putrid smell, nor the effort for printing an 8 X 10
    colour , warming up the chemicals, and trying to remove the colour cast.
    These days, I just print them on my Canon printer, which ewven works woth
    generic ink and generic paper! The bad photos just are deleted, the keepers
    remain both on the hard drive and sd card, when I reach about the size of a
    cd, I burn one and give it to my sister. And I can have as many 4X5" as I
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, Nov 2, 2009
  16. eNo

    Chris Guest

    I bet it is about the same.

    The serious photographers took a gazillion shots, many of which were
    dreck, some of which were decent, and a few of which were superb.

    The snap shot shooter took a gazillion pictures, the vast majority of
    which were dreck, and a tiny percentage were acceptable.

    Nowadays, everyone shoots a pile of pics, and most of them get trashed
    as soon as Adobe or Corel displays them (or they hide on lusers' hard
    drives, never to be seen in public). Most of those pics really, really
    need to be trashed.

    The middle ground (where I fell when I was shooting film) took a long
    time to compose a single shot, and never took enough pictures to alter
    the overall percentages by very much (although thinking back over my
    best shots, I guess I have about 2 that I really, really like as
    photos, as opposed to the memories they record).


    Chris, Nov 3, 2009
  17. eNo

    Chris Guest

    And for $49 we got a truly portable photo printer (Yah 4x5 only, so
    what, big deal) that connects directly to our camera and we print out
    family pics before we leave the family gathering.

    Chris, Nov 3, 2009
  18. eNo

    van dark Guest

    I started to photograph in 1955 with BOX TENGOR (6x9cm) and later I
    bought super (or very super and acientific) camera EXAKTA WAREX with
    Pancolar, Tesar and Domiplan.
    I very agree with Chris and Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, we appreciate these
    old cameras and our main goal was a shot nice image.
    Today is pursuit or hunt for number of pixels, of course more pixels for
    90% photographers is better (but I don´t agree).
    I am a standpatter one, I own NIKON F4S, MOSKVA 5 (6x9cm) and very good
    NIKON D50 (6Mpx).
    I don´t buy new camera with more and more pixels every year. It´s
    absolutely nonsense.

    Chris napsal(a):
    van dark, Nov 3, 2009
  19. eNo

    Data Point Guest

    The first time I bought an advanced super-zoom P&S digital camera was in
    order to accommodate my needs for a 9 month wilderness trek. I couldn't
    afford to miss shots from dust on the sensor, the weight, potential
    breakage of delicate mirror and shutter mechanisms, etc. After that trek,
    and some 70,000 shots later, I did the math of how much it would have cost
    in film, as well as the burden it would amount to just in hauling that much
    film there and back. The weight of that many (~1,944) little boxes and
    size, adds up fast. Even with the needed compact and folding solar-array
    for charging, the weight and size was minimal compared to what a film
    camera would have needed. Now add in the proof-prints too on return, where
    would anyone store that much? A digital camera, in the hands of a prolific
    photographer, will pay for itself within a few months if not sooner. Seven
    years later and that camera is still going strong never needing one repair,
    even the OEM Li-Ion battery is still fine, with some 400,000 excellent
    photos to its credit today.
    Data Point, Nov 3, 2009
  20. eNo

    Toxic Guest

    The beauty of digital is the capacity to 'delete and deny'
    IOW: I only take good shots, the gaps in the numerical order
    must mean I need to change batteries or something. ;-)
    Toxic, Nov 3, 2009
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